360 A surfing move where the surfer and board spin 360 degrees on the face of the wave.
AERIAL When the wave your riding sends your board above it into the air. An advanced maneuver that involves taking off from the lip of the wave, travelling some distance in the air, then (in theory) landing back on the face of the wave and continuing the ride.
A – FRAME Large wave that forms with distinct shoulders on either side (left and right) of the peak. Can result in two surfers surfin the same wave . . . one going frontside and the other going backside.
AIR Anytime a surfer and their board leave the face of the wave to become air borne.
AIRDROP A very late takeoff when the surfer drops through the air to the bottom of the wave.
ASP Association of Surfing Professionals, resposible for organising the annual world professional surfing circuit leading to the crowning of the world champion.
BACKSIDE Turns or rotations in the direction your toes point towards, so that your back is facing the outside of the waves arc.
BACKSIDE AIR Getting up in the air with your back to the wave.
BACKWASH The rush of water coming off the shore against incoming waves.
BACKDOOR Pulling into a tube from behind the peak.
BACKHAND Surfing with your back to the wave.
BAIL To escape immediately- to abandon your board with out regards to its future.
BALSA A light, porous wood used throught the 1940’s and 50’s as a standard material for surfboard manufacture. Balsa grows only in Ecuador and must be imported to the USA; it became popular when laminating techniques allowed surfboard cores to be sealed from contact with water. By the early 1960’s it was replaced with polyurethane foam.
BAMBOO A natural substance that can be used as a replacement for fibreglass in the surfboard manufacturing process; eg., Bamboo Surfboards Oz.
BARREL When the waves comes over your head and covers you, inside the wave and surfing. The inside of a hollow wave (same as tube).
BEACH BREAK 1. Surf breaking on a sandy beach. 2. A type of wave or a place where the wave breaks over a sandbar close to the beach.
BEACH BUM Someone who basicly lives at the beach.
BIG KAHUNA The best dude on the beach.
BLANK Block of foam from which a custom surfboard is made.
BOMB Larger than normal set wave.
BOOGIE BOARD A soft foam board ridden on the belly by those who can’t or won’t stand up, generally hated by all surfers as they usually get in the road, also known as bodyboard.
BOTTOM The lowest point of a wave a surfer can ride on.
BOTTOM TURN A turn at the bottom of the wave face. Taking off on a steep drop (wave) at or near the bottom of the wave it’s a must situation to make the bottom turn either right or left to establish speed and direction and…yehaww!
BEACH-BREAK The act of being dumped straight onto the beach by the sloppy shore break that is the natural habitat of the crap surfer. It was once believed that these kinds of waves only existed in cartoons but I discovered the truth after landing on my head in Polzeath circa 1992.
BUMP 1. A small swell. 2. When a light wind adds very small waves to the water surface, but the waves are still good.
BUMPS Wax build-up on the boards deck.
CARVE Symmetrical, fluid turns.
CARVING Powerful high energy surfing. A move in which a surfer moves up and down the face of a wave. Also known as Rippin.
CAUGHT INSIDE When a surfer gets caught on the shore side of a breaking wave making it difficult to get out, results in getting tossed around and lots of paddling.
CAVE Barrel, tube etc
CHANNEL 1. Deep water gap between sandbanks or reefs,normally where you paddle out to catch a wave. 2. A design feature on underside of a surfboard.
CHARGING Aggresively riding a huge wave with confidence.
CHEATER FIVE Five toes on the nose – shifting your weight to the back of the board in order to keep trim and speed, squatting down and extending one foot forward.
CLEAN 1. Glassy, peeling waves and/or good surf conditions. 2. Wave conditions in which the wind is affecting the ocean surface only slightly or not at all. Also see GLASSY.
CLEAN UP 1. A larger unexpected wave that breaks outside of the normal line of the break. 2. A large set that catches everybody ‘inside’.
CLOSE-OUT A wave that breaks along it’s entire length simultaneously, often unreadable and no good for surfing. Usually causes a WIPEOUT.
CONCAVE Bottom design on a surfboard aimed to give extra lift.
COWABUNGA A state of happiness.
CROSS STEPPING To walk the length of a board while maintaining balance, usually a lonboard manuver.
CRITICAL SECTION The hardest and most challenging part of the wave to surf.
CURL The top part of a breaking wave where it begins to roll over, taking it’s name from the shape.
CUTBACK A turn on the face of the wave that takes you back towards white water.
DA KINE A Hawaiian term used to describe something as the best.
DAWN PATROL To surf at dawn.
DELAMINATION When the fibreglass skin of a board becomes seperated from the foam.
DING A dent or hole in the surfboard exposing the foam. Easily repaired, there are quick patch kits that can used to make repairs on the beach.
DOWN THE LINE AKA On the Line. When riding a wave along the length ahead of the breaking part of a wave.
DROP Dropping from the crest of the wave to the pit, to take off on a breaking wave and ride down the face to the bottom.
DROP IN or DROPPING IN Catching a wave that is already occupied … taking off on the shoulder while someone is taking off deeper. When one surfer takes off on a wave already being ridden by another surfer nearer the peak, it is considered very bad style (a kook move) and often ends in bloodshed.
DUCK DIVE Method of getting through a breaking or broken wave by pushing the board underwater and following surfacing on the backside of the wave.
DUMPING Onshore wave white wash..wave not holding its form..not good surf!!
DUNE BOARDING Riding the dunes like a wave, can be done on a boogie board or skateboard without wheels, but is illegal in some places because it erodes the dunes.(Is best when the ocean is flat)
EPIC The conditions are near perfect…
FACE The unbroken surface of the wave (also known as green water, for obvious reasons), a very rideable area.
FAR OUT Something said alot in the 70’s for no aparent reason.
FISH SURFBOARD The fish is a later board that was made back in the earlier days to catch waves for mushier days and to still have fun.
FLOATER 1. A maneuver that involves launching the board off the lip of the wave onto a section of broken or breaking wave in front, unweighting, and free falling dwon the face with the breaking white water. Where you are on your board waiting for a wave. 2. A person (normally a tourist!) who swims or body surfs in the water and gets in your way while surfing. Also see SPEEDBUMP.
FRONTSIDE Turns in the direction your heels point towards, so that your front is facing towards the outside of the waves arc.
FUBAR Acronym… “*&^% up beyond all recognition”
GETTIN’ COVERED In the Tube or Barrel. See Tube or Barrel.
GETTING TUBED When the waves comes over your head and covers you, inside the wave and surfing.
GIDGET Surf Chick who can hang with the crew.
GLASSY Smooth seas resulting from calm wind conditions giving the surface a sheen – provides excellent surf when combined with a swell.
GNARLY (Also spelled ‘KNARLEY’) 1. Heavy, intense. Heavy, difficult waves, usually quite big. 2. Rough Going. Danger Ahead. “That knarley wave fully biffed my board on the rocks.”
I was the creator of the word gnarly. I was taking metal shop in junior highschool at freemont junior high in anaheim about 1975. There is a tool for turning a on the lathe called a gnarl tool, it makes a bumpy surface for grips on handles. I realy liked the pattern it made. I was also surfing with my friends alot from huntington to san diego with my friends. I started calling choppy waves gnarly, then all my friends started saying “ that was gnarly” then the word mutated,,, anyway thats where gnarly comes from. roger callen
3. Stuff that proper surfers can do that you can’t.
GOAT BOATER A Kayaker riding the surf and getting in the way.
GOING OFF A break under optimum conditions. Waves really high; a lot of them.
GOOFY FOOT AKA GOOFY A surfer who rides with his or her right foot forward on the board.
GREEN ROOM Inside a full cover-up tube.
GROM or GROMMET A name used for younger surfers.
GROUND SWELL A clean swell with evenly-spaced lines, usually from a distant storm.
GUN A large surfboard. A big wave board – long and narrow in shape.
HANG FIVE or HANGING FIVE To ride with five toes curled over the nose of the board, more common on longboards.
HANG LOOSE Being in a relaxed metabolic and clear minded state. Inverse Application of Up Tight, Circa 60s.
HANG TEN or HANGING TEN 1. To ride with ten toes over the nose of the board, a very stylish an very difficult longboard move.
2. Hanging ten feet from the shore because the waves are really scary.
IMPACT ZONE The point at which the swell is breaking most heavily and frequently.
INSIDE Shoreward of a breaking wave or set (as in ‘caught inside’), or an expression for life in the tube. the inside rail is the one nearest the wave face.
LEASH Urethane cord which attaches the board to the surfer by means of a velcro strap.
LEFT-HANDER A wave the breaks from the left to right as viewed from the shore.
LINES A set of waves outside and approaching easily spotted from the line up.
LINE UP Just beyond the impact zone where you wait to catch waves. The area of surfers already in the water, or the area of the surf beach that is known best by the local community. Usually this is the most dangerous area to surf.
LIP The top edge or crest of the wave ahead of the breaking area, which may ‘throw out’ to create a tube.
LOCALS A group of surfers that grew up or have lived there long enough to be considered one (can be territorial about their breaks).
LULL 1. Time spent waiting for a rideable wave. 2. Time between sets, when the waves are much smaller as in “Wait for a Lull before you paddle out”.
MALIBU BOARD Another term for a long board, usually between 8ft 6in/2.60m and 10ft 6in/3.20m in length. named after the beach in Southern California.
NOSE DIVE When the weight of the board is too far forward and the nose starts to go under into the water (see PEARL).
NOSE-RIDING Technique used by longboarders who attempt to ride as close as possible to the nose of the board.
OFF THE LIP or LIP BASH To ride the wave up to the lip and quickly turn back in to the wave. A maneuver whereby the board hits the breaking lip of the wave before continuing along the wave.
OFFSHORE When the wind is blowing from the land out to sea and holding up the face of the wave , will usually produce ideal surfing conditions, especially when the wind is reasonably light.
OFF THE LIP A manuver to abruptly turn the surfboard on thelipt of the wave and dropping down on to the wave face.
ONSHORE When the wind is blowing from the sea onto the land, this messes up the face of the wave and produces poor surfing conditions.
OUTSIDE or OUT THE BACK 1. The area beyond the impact zone. the outside rail is the edge furthest from the face of the wave. 2. When shouted “Outside”! means there is a BIG set coming.
OVER THE FALLS To fall down the face of the wave inside the falling lip. Getting pitched head-first and slammed by the lip of a crashing wave. See PITCHPEAK The point at which a wave breaks first, from which it ideally peels in one or both directions.
PEARL This is when the nose of the board buries itself under water and the surfer usually goes flying over the front, most common on take-offs.
PEARL DIVING We used to say this around 1975…same meaning as “Pearl”…but I think it may have been the original phrase then it was shortened to “pearl”. Karl Eberhardt San Diego.
PIPELINE Famous surf location in Hawaii that has huge powerful and hollow waves.
PIT A breaking waves hollowest part, the bottom point in front of the peak of a wave.
POCKET The steepest and most powerful part of the wave, just ahead and under the breaking lip.
POINT BREAK A break where the waves are refracted around a headland or point and then peel along the inside of the point.
POP-UP Quick jump up on to your board in a standing or crouched position.
POSER Wannabe. Someone who tries to hard to be what they’re not.
RAIL The side or edge of a surfboard.
REEF BREAK Waves breaking over a projection rising from the sea bed, usually a corel reef or rock shelf.
RE-ENTRY Maneuver which involves surfing up into the lip of a breaking wave, then coming back down with it.
REGULAR A surfer who surfs with thier LEFT foot forward
RESIN Chemical used in a two part mixture with catalyst to convert fibreglass into a hard outer skin.
RHINO CHASER Big wave board (comes from big game hunting and a reference to a Rhino rifle )
RIGHT-HANDER or RIGHT A wave that breaks from right to left as viewed from the shore.
RIP To surf your max.
RIP or RIPTIDE A channel of water running out to sea.
ROCKER The curve in a surfboard when viewed side on.
SANDBANK An elevation in the level of the sea floor on a beach, causing waves to break over it.
SECTION When a wave is divided by white water into several different areas having a clean face.
SHOREBREAK Waves breaking very close to shore or on the beach. More suited for short rides or working on skills such as getting up on the board.
SHOULDER The steep part of the wave directly in front of the breaking area.
SHRED Ability to execute rapid repeated turns on a shortboard.
SKIMBOARD A small board made of plywood or fiberglass. The rider skims over the wave wash on the shore or shoots out from the shore into an oncoming wave.
SKIMBOARDER A person that rides a skimboard. A surfer with balls
SNAKE Paddling around behind someone who is in position and stealing their wave. Taking ownership of a wave. A legend who thinks they are greater than they are, a real weasel.
STRINGER The thin piece or pieces of wood running down the center of a board adding strength.
SURFARI Surfing safari, out of town surf trip. See SURFING SAFARI
SWELL 1. Waves generated by the energy from the weather and wind conditions traveling over the oceans surface, often traveling for hundreds or thousands of miles. 2. A measurement of wave height. 3. A day or so of rad conditions.
TAIL The rear end of the board.
TAKE-OFF The beginning point of the ride where the board is propelled by the wave.
THRUSTER A three finned surfboard.
TOW INS Being towed into waves that are too large to paddle into.
TUBE The hollow part of the wave. Also called barrel.
TUBED Riding a wave inside the hollow pocket so that the wave is breaking around you. Generally ends with being STOKED.
VEE Convex shape on the bottom of the board.
WAX Made for different temps and applied to a boards deck for traction.
WIPEOUT Falling off the surfboard. Totally loose it and get pummeled by the wave. Ten times worse than Ate It. When a surfer totaly bails out on their board or gets smashed on a wave.
WOODY The stationwagon made famous by surfers in the 60’s